Posted by: nauticalchronicles | December 21, 2011


This one’s dedicated to all the 1st mates out there (and their captains)…especially the new 1st mates (and their captains).

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:                                      


It seems like yesterday we took our first boating voyage.  We left the dock at Larry’s Marina, Amesbury, MA on the Merrimack River and traveled 500 yards…to the red marker.  That “Yesterday”, for Louise and me was the summer of 1996; the vessel was our newly purchased, formerly repossessed 1989, 22’ Four Winns cuddy, 350 V-8 inboard/outboard; very quick. And we named her “HalfMine” (half Louise’s and half mine).

What Louise & I try to remember, today, 14 years later, with our new, 1st time boating friends at our marina…patience and guidance (the guidance only if solicited).  Our first year was demanding and frustrating, to say the least.  We got laughed at…a lot. We made a lot of stupid mistakes. We looked up to our new friends and depended on them for guidance (especially Frank and Cheryl who had 12 years of experience!) What we did find, however, was that there was an over-abundance of guidance, recommendations, directions, help of every nature and that help did not need to be solicited…everyone had an answer, usually different than the others, and everyone was willing to help.

What Louise and I also discovered that first year of boating, other than boat handling, was that what we thought was going to be our serene, getaway pastime, just- for-the–two-of-us adventure, in fact came with a whole lot of new friends who were not only there for you when you needed them, but were always there with you, even when you didn’t need them. There were very few “serene” moments aboard “HalfMine”, but it was an exhilarating summer and we truly enjoyed it.

We (Louise and I) spent a lot of time, in heated debate (fighting) about who should do this or that, and when it should be done; usually this happened as we were coming into docks, moorings, other boats; usually when the boat was going that way, the wind was blowing this way and the current…don’t forget the current, was taking us somewhere else altogether! One of our friends (Morrison probably) told me that “the Captain is the person in charge of the vessel; everyone must listen to the Captain!”  I, mistakenly, took that advice to heart; a mistake because for this “pastime” to survive and possibly become enjoyable, a partnership needed to be negotiated between the “Captain” and the “1st Mate”; and…some distance needed to be put between us and our new friends.

By the end of that first season of boating, our new hobby could have gone either way; north or south.

Luckily, we figured it out; the balance between Captain and Mate, and the balance between us and our friends.  We figured out that our kids enjoyed boating excursions (luckily no one got seasick) and liked to spend time with us on the boat.  We figured out that our parents also enjoyed boating and looked forward to “short trips”. We enjoyed life at the marina as well as life on-board and on the water…and we liked traveling.

We started our 2nd season of boating at Cove Marina in Salisbury, MA.  We maintained our friendships from Larry’s while making new friends at Cove; Cove was much closer to the ocean which is where we wanted to be…”out there” (rather than spending so much time getting “out there”).  We also started our 2nd season with “The Carver”; a 27’ Montego with a real galley, head, aft-cabin and V-berth…and a GPS!  We kept the name “HalfMine”.

All the skills Louise and I had developed the previous year seemed to disappear; what reappeared were…the heated debates. Our discussions, though, did not last long as we learned our way with our new vessel (except for the time the GPS failed to find Boston for us). 

We spent lots of time “out there” traveling from Kennebunk & York to Boston and through the Cape Cod Canal.  We spent time drifting, out several miles, on calm, warm summer days; sometimes Louise would fish (I don’t fish).  We spent time following thousands of dolphins in mid-October as they appeared to be migrating south; we lost them as we turned around beyond Cape Ann.  We spent time watching Old Ironsides under full sail go from Boston to Salem & back.  We spent time lazing in Portsmouth, NH and Great Bay.

We also spent time traveling with our friends to new ports in the Northeast.  By travelling with “Those Experienced Friends”, we were forced to learn boating skills and boat control we never would have attempted on our own; “guided discovery” is what we called it. Those adventures pushed us beyond what we thought we could do, and added valuable skills to our expanding marine skill set.  Together, Louise and I were feeling more comfortable with our abilities to travel and navigate in the water, a pastime which was still blossoming and so new to us.

Since that 2nd season, we’ve had two more and, of course, bigger vessels; a 34’ Sea Ray and a 46’ Post.  We’ve been from Bar Harbor to New Jersey and most places in between.  We’ve been with friends and by ourselves.  We’ve kissed the ground at some ports after truly bad seas and we’ve survived encounters with rogue waves.  We’ve sung karaoke in Castine and seen misfits in Montauk.  We have a picture of us docked at Liberty Landing, NJ with the Twin Towers in the background.  We had the kids visit for a night in Kennebunkport and then stay for the week.  We dinghied to Haverhill one year with two other couples and now go each year with 50 other dinghies.  We’ve rented bare boats in the British Virgin Islands three times and one time in the south of France on the Canal du Midi.  We party at the docks and the moorings and we spend summer days on the sand somewhere, anywhere.  We’ve followed dolphins and whales and we’ve seen the Emerald City. We’ve answered a casting call for a proposed PBS series, “Boat Across America” and made a short video for it (we obviously didn’t get the part). We’ve been to the Charles River for the 4th of July…before 9/11 when boats could still tie up to the shore and dinghies could still travel on the small waterways of the river.  We’ve been to New York City and have crossed the Hudson River, at night, by dinghy.

And we’ve done it all…together.

Our boating has become our mutual interest; our experiences now are (usually) mutually entertaining (excepting when I get out of hand; it used to be me losing control but more recently it is becoming a balanced act; Louise can keep up).  We have a really good time, together by ourselves and together with our friends.  We are looking forward to the new adventures our next boating season will bring; we know there are many waiting for us.

But we’ve also found that boating, truly enjoyable boating is a two-person sport.  I can’t imagine that I would still be involved if she were not “on-board” with the idea; I know she feels the same way.  And now we’ve found that the grandchildren really like it too; it’s nice knowing there are such great common interests among us all…a love of boats, a love of the water and our love for each other.

We are also thinking about taking our retirement condo (The Post) to Lighthouse Point in Florida late next year (if they’ll have us; hopefully our reputation doesn’t precede us).  From there, who knows; we know we can make it from Lauderdale to the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, the Virgin Islands, and beyond…we’ll see what happens. We’ll do what we always do; take one step at a time.  As I’ve said before, our stories speak for themselves; our enjoyment and laughter are forever.

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

the little man

just us  Dunn Falls JamaicaDeerfield Bch, Fl

HI FROM HALFMINE  Staying Alive In The Water  Soggy Dollar, BVI

Dingy Loblolly Bay, BVI rain just means foul weather gear



  1. My Dear Captain, this sounds like a long ” fairwell” refrain?

  2. Captain and First mate; terrific pictures; I’m sure each has an equally interesting side bar!

  3. Ohhhh! My heart sings with happiness for the love you two share. We are honored to be your friends! xo

  4. So many wonderful adventures! May you have many more, especially in the winter, in a warm climate. 🙂

  5. This is my fav so far. It tells me so much about what a rich and rewarding relationship you share. And it tells me how very human you both are. May you have many more adventures as the earth turns toward the sun and the sky regains its warmth. See you at Christmas!

  6. Great job Poppy!! We love you guys and can’t wait for the twins to experience their first boating season.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: